No-Deposit Electricity: How to Qualify—and What to Do If You Don’t
You may have noticed a lot of electric companies in Texas brag about no-deposit electricity. This sounds great on the surface, but their boasts are usually all hat and no cattle. What they usually don’t tell you is sometimes folks don’t qualify. To help make sense of all this, we’re here to give you the skinny on no-deposit electricity and inform you of the options that are available when a deposit is required.
Although some electric companies oversell the idea, it’s still worth noting a lot of electric customers don’t have to pay a deposit at all. Why is that the case? In a nutshell, it all comes down to two key factors—your payment history and your credit history. For example, here are three of the most important credit-related indicators that are used to qualify you for $0 down electricity:
- You’ve signed up for electric service within the last two years
- Your electric account isn’t currently in delinquent status
- You haven’t made a late payment more than once over the course of the last year
Most folks looking for electric service meet those requirements. In addition, for people with certain special needs, there are also a few other ways to avoid paying a deposit. Granted, these may seem highly specific, but it’s worth reviewing four of the most common instances here in the off chance that they might help you qualify:
- You’re 65 or older and aren’t currently past due on any electric bill
- You’ve been legally designated a victim of family violence
- You’re medically indigent (i.e. folks who can’t afford health insurance but aren’t eligible for government health care)
- You secure a “letter of guarantee” from a customer currently in good standing with a Retail Electric Provider (more below)
Now that you have a basic idea of what electric companies look for when determining eligibility for no-deposit electricity, let’s look at the actual process.
In Texas, it’s rather simple. You’ll probably be subjected to a standard credit check when enrolling with a Retail Electric Provider (REP)—the technical term for electric company
. If you don’t pass the credit check, the REP will require a deposit so that they don’t risk losing money. You’ll know during your call to set up service whether or not you passed, and whether or not you have to pay a deposit.
To protect Texans from consumer fraud, REPs are required by law to have consistent policies regarding electric deposits and letters of guarantee. These policies, although specific to each REP, are legally mandated to extend to all their customers. And that’s just one protection. Also, keep in mind that electric companies can only request a deposit of up to one-fifth of your estimated yearly electric bill or the two-month total of your estimated annual energy bill.
In the case that you’re required to pay a deposit over $50, you may also be eligible to pay it over two installments—assuming that you’re a low-income customer. Remember, however, that your REP may ask you to provide documentation proving your low-income discount eligibility. If you aren’t on the official state eligibility list, your REP may ask for alternative documentation to prove you still qualify. On top of low-income payment plans guaranteed by the state government, some REPs—like Amigo Energy—offer their own payment plan options (more on this below).
Even with all these consumer protections and choices, some folks may still face barriers to getting residential electricity. The Public Utility Commission of Texas
(PUC), for example, allows REPs to refuse service for a variety of reasons. Here are some of the more common ones:
- Unsafe or deficient equipment
- Failure to pay for similar utility services
- Failure to meet the terms stipulated in a letter of guarantee
- Failure to pay tariffs for nonstandard equipment
Always remember that if an REP refuses service, they have to tell you exactly why. Once you’ve been informed of the exact cause, all you need to do is take the appropriate steps to resolve the issue in order to start service.
PRO TIP: Before paying a deposit, see if your REP offers payment plans—it could save you cash upfront.
The short answer is yes. Lots of our customers qualify for no-deposit electricity, and it’s easy to find out if you qualify.
Step 1. Choose an energy plan
Step 2. Call us
Step 3. Answer a few credit-related questions
Step 4. Turn on your power today
If you qualify, you won’t pay a deposit—it’s that easy.
But what if you don’t qualify? Don’t worry. Amigo Energy offers payment plans to the vast majority of our deposit-paying customers. Basically, we split your deposit over the course of two or three billing cycles so you’re not hit with unmanageable upfront costs.
We call this our EZ Access Program. It’s for customers whose credit could use a little tender loving care, but can still pay a portion of their electric deposit over time. Our EZ Access Program uses historical data to forecast your energy usage amounts, which are then used to calculate a deposit payment plan. It’s transparent, fair, and affordable.
No-deposit electricity can sound incredibly appealing—and it is for a lot of well-qualified customers. For folks with fair or bad credit, deposits don’t have to break the bank, either. Here at Amigo Energy, we’re confident we can help you with your deposit and get your power turned on as soon as possible. Read more energy-related information on our blog or check out one of our electric plans to get one step closer to no-deposit electricity today.